Hello everyone! My name is Meenu Menon, and I am the new Student Program intern at PHR. In the short time that I have been here, a great deal has happened, both at PHR and in the world. One of the most noteworthy events has been the new sanctions on Sudan that President Bush announced he will now implement in response to the Sudanese government’s continued belligerence against civilians in Darfur.
On May 29, President Bush announced, effective immediately, the United States government will take the following four steps to put pressure on Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his government:
- Further enforcing existing economic sanctions against 100 Sudanese companies banned from doing business with the United States.
- Adding 31 additional companies to the sanctions list, barring them from any dollar transactions within the United States financial system.
- Freezing the assets of two senior Sudanese officials and a rebel leader: Ahmad Haroun- state minister for humanitarian affairs, Awad ibn Auf- director of military intelligence, and Khalil Ibrahim- leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel group.
- Seeking a United Nations Security Council resolution that will impose a broad arms embargo against Sudan and bar the Sudanese government from conducting military flights in Darfur.
While the plan is a step in the right direction, critics say that, because the sanctions are unilateral, they will not have enough of an impact to significantly change the actions of the Bashir regime in Darfur. Moreover, since the U.S. has had sanctions in place against Sudan since 1997, the Sudanese have restructured their economy so as to not depend on the U.S. as a trade partner. This has become all the more evident since Sudan discovered oil in 1999. Sudan now pumps 500,000 barrels of oil a day, and receives investments from Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian companies, generating enough wealth for an economic boom in Khartoum.
Critics also fear that the plan will not be effective without the support of the international community. China, Russia, and South Africa all oppose economic sanctions for Sudan. China, Sudan’s most important trade partner, has consistently threatened to use its veto power in the UNSC. As China is also an important partner to the United States, some experts, including David Rubenstein, executive director of the Save Darfur Coalition, think that the United States “should make Sudan a higher priority in its diplomatic relations with China”.
Advocacy groups worldwide are pushing for actions to strengthen the plan, which include: utilizing a hybrid U.N. and African Union peacekeeping force of up to 29,000, placing multilateral sanctions against Sudanese companies, pressuring international banks to stop doing business with Sudan, reinforcing divestment efforts, and supporting the ICC indictment process.
To see PHR’s statement on the recent sanctions, click here.
For more information on the topic, go to:
- Bush to Tighten Fiscal Penalties Against Sudan (NY Times)
- Oil May Allow Sudan to Escape Sanctions’ Pain (NY Times)
- Shooting Blanks at Sudan (enough)
- Damanga Applauds Sanctions, But Says Peacekeepers Are Still Urgently Needed (Damanga)
or contact Danielle Fox (dfox at phrusa dot org).